When you are getting ready to bring a new dog into your home, be sure to go through your house and landscaping to identify and remove toxic plants. If you aren't sure if a plant is safe, check the ASPCA list of toxic and non-toxic plants. Ingestion of poisonous plants may be mild and only cause an upset stomach or, in severe cases, it may be fatal. As much as you may love your garden plants and houseplants, you can protect your dog and avoid unnecessary vet bills by selecting pet-safe options.
Toxic holiday plants
Adding plants to the home brings joy and life to your holiday decorations. However, many holiday plants are extremely dangerous if your pet gets into them. All members of the lily family, including Easter lilies, are poisonous. Calla lily, which despite the name is not a member of the lily family, is also toxic. Other poisonous holiday plants include holly, American mistletoe, and amaryllis.
Poinsettia is also toxic to dogs and can cause irritation in the mouth and vomiting. However, even if your dog eats this plant, it is not generally fatal.
The safest option is to avoid using these in your decorating plans. But if you can't do without them, make sure you place them well out of reach of your dog. You can also consider using artificial plants in all your decorations.
Poisonous spring blooms and ornamentals
Spring blooms bring bright color to your landscaping after the long months of winter. However, many of these garden plants are dangerous to your dog. Plant these blooms in an area that is fenced off from your dog and avoid bringing the cut flowers or potted plants in your home.
Poisonous bulbs include tulips, iris, gladiola, and autumn crocus. Narcissus, or daffodils, also fall in this category. The bulb is the most dangerous part of the plants but the flowers, stems, and leaves are also toxic.
Some popular ornamental plants that are dangerous for your dog include azalea, rhododendron, and wisteria. Other dangerous flowering plants you may find in your home or garden include oleander, hyacinth, foxglove, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, hydrangea, morning glory, and nightshade.
Other poisonous plants
Succulent plants are easy houseplants to care for but can be dangerous for dogs. Unfortunately, succulents are especially tempting for dogs, since they are rubbery like a dog chew toy. Aloe vera, pencil cactus, and jade plants are all toxic to your pet.
Some plants in your vegetable garden and orchard are also toxic. Don't allow your dog to eat apricot, plums, peaches, or cherries. In addition, rhubarb and tomato plants are also poisonous to dogs. Ripe tomatoes are okay for your dog to eat, but don't allow him to eat any other part of the plant or unripened fruit.
Other popular ornamental plants that are poisonous include ivy, dieffenbachia (also called dumb cane), yew, and begonia. Several houseplants and ferns are also toxic, including sago palm and asparagus fern.
Pet poisoning symptoms
Ingesting poisonous plants can have a variety of symptoms depending on the plant and the amount they ate. Plants with high toxicity may cause liver failure, kidney failure, and even death.
For example, oleander contains cardiac glycosides and causes symptoms including excessive drooling, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even death. Foxglove contains the same toxic compound and causes vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, and death. Dieffenbachia contains insoluble oxalate crystals and causes burning and pain in the mouth, drooling, and difficulty swallowing. Other symptoms you may see if your pet eats a poisonous plant include gastrointestinal tract upset, difficulty breathing, slow heart rate, loss of appetite, or low blood pressure.
Even if you think you have removed all dangerous plants, all pet owners should make sure to have the number of a poison hotline and their veterinarian readily available. If you notice any symptoms of poisoning, call the Pet Poison Helpline or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center to determine the next steps to take.